Abstract 3721


CD19 is expressed from early B cell development through differentiation into plasma cells, and is an attractive alternative to CD20 as a target for the development of therapeutic antibodies to treat B cell malignancies. T cells are potent tumor-killing effector cells that cannot be recruited by native antibodies. The CD3 RECRUIT-TandAb AFM11, a humanized bispecific tetravalent antibody with two binding sites for both CD3 and CD19, is a novel therapeutic for the treatment of NHL that harnesses the cytotoxic nature of T cells.


We engineered a bispecific anti-CD19/anti-CD3e tetravalent TandAb with humanized and affinity-matured variable domains. The TandAb's binding properties, T cell-mediated cytotoxic activity, and target-mediated T cell activation were characterized in a panel of in vitro assays. In vivo efficacy was evaluated in a murine NOD/scid xenograft model reconstituted with human PBMC.


AFM11 mediates highly potent CD19+ tumor cell lysis in cytotoxicity assays performed on a panel of cell lines (JOK-1, Raji, Nalm-6, MEC-1, VAL, Daudi) and primary B-CLL tumors: EC50 values are in the low- to sub-picomolar range and do not correlate with the expression density of CD19 on the target cell lines. The cytotoxic activity of tetravalent AFM11 is superior to that of alternative bivalent antibody formats possessing only a single binding site for both CD19 and CD3. High affinity binding of AFM11 to CD19 and to CD3 is essential for efficacious T cell recruitment. Both CD8+ and CD4+ T cells mediate cytotoxicity however the former exhibit much faster killing. We observe that AFM11 displays similar cytotoxic efficacy at different effector to target ratios (from 5:1 to 1:5) in cytotoxicity assays; this suggests that T cells are engaged in the serial killing of CD19+ target cells. In the absence of CD19+ target cells in vitro, AFM11 does not elicit T cell activation as manifested by cytokine release (from a panel of ten cytokines associated with T cell activation), their proliferation, or their expression of activation markers. AFM11 activates T cells exclusively in the presence of its targets and mediates lysis of CD19+ cells while sparing antigen-negative bystanders. In the absence of CD19+ target cells, AFM11 concentrations in excess of 500-fold over EC50 induce down-modulation of the CD3/TCR complex. Yet, AFM11-treated T cells can be re-engaged for target cell lysis. All of these features of AFM11-induced T cell activation may contribute additional safety without compromising its efficacy.

In vivo AFM11 demonstrates a robust dose-dependent inhibition of subcutaneous Raji tumors in mice. At 5 mg/kg AFM11 demonstrates a complete suppression of tumor growth, and even at 5 ug/kg tumor growth is reduced by 60%. Moreover, we observe that a single administration of AFM11 produces inhibition of tumor growth similar to that of 5 consecutive administrations.


In summary, our in vitro and in vivo experiments with AFM11 demonstrate the high potency and efficacy of its anti-tumor cytotoxicity. Thus, AFM11 is a novel highly efficacious drug candidate for the treatment of B cell malignancies with an advantageous safety profile.


Zhukovsky:Affimed Therapeutics AG: Employment, Equity Ownership. Reusch:Affimed Therapeutics AG: Employment. Burkhardt:Affimed Therapeutics AG: Employment. Knackmuss:Affimed Therapeutics AG: Employment. Fucek:Affimed Therapeutics AG: Employment. Eser:Affimed Therapeutics AG: Employment. McAleese:Affimed Therapeutics AG: Employment. Ellwanger:Affimed Therapeutics AG: Employment.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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